Tag Archives: on deck

two bars three stars/on deck: thinkSPEAK at rock n roll hotel

2 Aug

I attended a pretty neat new music event a few weeks ago, but sadly it only made it into my Twitter feed and not the blog: the Flashband Summer Showcase at Half Street Fairgrounds on July 14. The concept was simple: a bunch of DC musicians got together, threw their names in a hat, and formed impromptu bands. These “flashbands” had one month to get together, write music, rehearse, and prepare for a showdowncase.

It’s awesome to see how the bands respond to this challenge- you can tell that some threw it together at the last minute, some composed  and perfected multiple original songs, and one band just decided to play five LCD Soundsystem covers. I wasn’t complaining.

But sometimes, these flashbands can become something more. What if, in the course of one month’s preparation, you stumble upon something golden? You wouldn’t want to just throw that progress away, would you?

Such is the case with thinkSPEAK, a DC band that debuted at the Flashband showcase and hasn’t stopped there. After closing their Flashband performance with an indisputable hit single, “Tiller,” the band refined, recorded, and posted the single on their Soundcloud page. Next up? An opening performance at Rock n Roll Hotel tonight.

Cheers to flashbands that aren’t fleeting and good ol’ fashioned toe-tapping singles.

“Tiller,” Think Speak

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on deck: zola jesus at u street music hall

16 Feb

If you read my post about the David Lynch remix of Zola Jesus’ track “In Your Nature,” then you saw my excitement about tomorrow night’s show at U Street Music Hall unfold in real time. I was going nuts over an artist, only to discover a) she was coming to DC,  b) the show would be at one of my favorite venues, and c) it was part of a collaborative effort between three of my favorite venues (Black Cat + 930 Club + Uhall). Score on score on score.

Thankfully, that remix led me to do more than just buying two $15 tickets to her show (duh, steal). It led me to delve into the rest of her discography—an impressive 3 EPs (Tsar Bomba, Stridulum, Valusia), 3 LPs (New Amsterdam, Spoils, Conatus), and some various and sundries with other artists.

Only when I started talking to friends about my newfound obsession did I realize how hard it is to describe her sound. But the one point I always hit home? Obviously, her voice. What. A. Voice. After learning that Zola received extensive opera training as a child, it became easier to understand why this college-age electro-goth songstress’ voice had enough range, depth, and thunder to compete with any six-time Grammy winner (ahem). Fans of Florence and the Machine, take note.

It will be a refreshingly new experience to watch a slower and more calculated performance on Uhall’s normally bombastic stage. Nonetheless, the venue’s small space, dark lighting, and crystal-clear speakers provide the perfect atmosphere to see this lady bring down the house.

Watch the video, listen to the tracks, soak up the voice.

(Also check out BYT’s recent interview with the singer).